The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59733   Message #953685
Posted By: saulgoldie
16-May-03 - 08:34 AM
Thread Name: Mary Cliff & Tom Paxton @Black Rock
Subject: Mary Cliff & Tom Paxton @Black Rock
Saw a wonderful presentation at a local place called the Black Rock Center in Germantown Maryland last night honoring Mary Cliff for her 30 continuous years on the air and featuring Tom Paxton as her "victim" with whom she shared and discussed some highlights of their years in the business of folk music. Tom played many songs and dropped more than a few names, among them Dave von Ronk, Woody Guthrie, Ian and Sylvia, The Weavers, Missippy John Hurt, Bob Dylan, Noel Stuckey, and more.

The focus was more on Tom as he described his career and discussed the creative process. Of course, he mentioned his three biggees: "My Dog's Bigger Than Your Dog," "Marvelous Toy," and "Last Thing on My Mind." My Dog, of course, became "...cause he gets Ken'l Ration" and probably earned him more money than many of his more important "children." LTOMM went on to become one of the best known folk songs and has found its way curiously into several other languages! And TMT was composed while he was in typing training in the Army at Fort Dix (for those who don't know the story).

Mary kept the focus on Tom. She did slip in a comment on the state of folk music on the air and the need to keep the airwaves freer for divers audiences. She started to suggest letter-writing, but didn't seem to want to spoil the evening by getting too deeply into such a sad topic. (We have discussed the FCC rules and media consolidation elsewhere in the Forum.) Jennifer Cutting, formerly of The New St. George presented her with a very nice personalized fully restored and quite elaborate accordion in honor of her years on the air. (She will need lessons, she noted.)

Lee Michael Dempsey, another folk dj was there, too. And don't get me started on the dirt done to him and his audience by WAMU "public" radio station.

It was a wonderful retrospective, and I even heard some new songs that I want to play. Maureen Harrigan, producer extraordinaire did the behind the scenes and preliminary heavy lifting and did a spectacular job as always.

I was a bit sad to notice, however that the audience averaged from mid 40s to 70s in age, and I wondered what will happen to folk music when the 40-somethings who are the younger members pass on. Tom mentioned that the current crop of musicians are playing new compositions, and pretty much don't play anything from "the past" as has been the "tradition" in earlier times. (Note the this is not the "definition of folk music" thread, but just a mention of our aging.)

Thanks, Mary, Tom, and Maureen. Thanks Catters for being here and being part of the ongoing "folk scare" and helping keep me sane with this outlet.